Aerial shooting of feral pigs begins on Kangaroo Island

Feral pigs feed on the edge of plantation forests on Kangaroo Island before the recent bushfires. Photo KI Landscape Board
Feral pigs feed on the edge of plantation forests on Kangaroo Island before the recent bushfires. Photo KI Landscape Board

The three-day, aerial feral pig shoot that began Tuesday, June 16 is part of a $2.67 million commitment from the State Government announced the same day.

Specialist shooters from June 16 to June 18 will be shooting feral pigs from a helicopter flying above western Kangaroo Island parks.

The shoot being undertaken by National Parks and Wildlife Service SA will focus on Kelly Hill Conservation Park, Flinders Chase National Park including Cape Borda, Cape Bouguer and the Ravine des Casoars wilderness protection areas.

No access is allowed to these parks during the shoot.

Feral piglets run out of a farm dam near Six Mile Lagoon on Kangaroo Island as the bushfire approaches from the west. Photo KI Landscape Board

Feral piglets run out of a farm dam near Six Mile Lagoon on Kangaroo Island as the bushfire approaches from the west. Photo KI Landscape Board

The state government is targeting feral pigs on Kangaroo Island with a $2.67 million high-intensity program aimed at curbing the pest's destruction on agriculture and the environment.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said feral pigs on Kangaroo Island had impacted on farmers for years.

"This $2.67 million program will help remove feral pigs from Kangaroo Island, which currently cost the community $1 million per year," Mr Whetstone said.

"Feral pigs are not only causing ongoing damage to the Island's agricultural industries such as pastures, grain and potato crops, fence lines and dams but they are impacting on threatened native species and the environment.

"It is an important time to implement this eradication program as feral pig numbers have reduced following the summer's bushfires and there is an opportunity to rid this pest from the Island.

"In collaboration with private landholders around 130 feral pigs have already been removed by KI Landscape Board staff through on-ground action but with heavy rains over the last few months, and regrowth in full swing, feral pigs are now on the move.

"Farmers will be supported by marksmen both on the ground and in the air who will work across parks and farms, and will ramp up baiting and trapping programs."

Minister for Environment and Water, David Speirs said recent surveys had shown the feral pigs in parks are now on the move looking for fungi as they pop up after heavy rain.

"The feral pigs are a direct predator of frogs, fish, reptiles, birds and small mammals, and they also destroy habitats and ecosystems," said Minister Speirs.

"Species at risk include the endangered southern brown bandicoot, the endangered Kangaroo Island dunnart and the endangered Kangaroo Island echidna.

"Removing the threat of feral pigs, particularly while the environment is vulnerable as it recovers from fire, will support the recovery of threatened fauna over the coming years and decades, back to pre-fire levels."

The locally coordinated program, funded by the federal government, builds on the Island's ongoing feral pig control work since the bushfires.

It will be led by Primary Industries and Regions SA in partnership with the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board.